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Involving people with disabilities from the beginning of a project helps you better understand accessibility issues and implement more effective accessibility solutions. It also broadens your perspective in a way that can lead you to discover new ways of thinking about your product that will make it work better for more people in more situations.

This applies when designing and developing:
– Websites and web applications
– Browsers, media players, and assistive technologies
– Authoring tools such as content management systems (CMS), blog software, and WYSIWYG editors
– Accessibility standards and policies
– Web technologies and technical specifications, such as HTML

in this respect, the W3C WAI Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) published documents to help:

The documents provide guidance on including real users, covering:
– How involving users early helps
– Finding a range of users
– Working with users
– Analyzing accessibility issues
– Drawing conclusions and reporting
– Note for usability professionals
– Combining user involvement with standards
Source: WAI Interest Group

This report (Study report: Web accessibility in European countries: level of compliance with latest international accessibility specifications, notably WCAG 2.0, and approaches or plans to implement those specifications) presents the results of a study to provide data and analysis to support the European Commission in the identification of EU-level measures that can help to progress the achievement of greater levels of web accessibility across the Member States. The aim was to provide evidence and analysis to help understand and compare the approaches followed by the European countries, with a view to identifying issues and challenges, good practices and future priorities in the web accessibility field.
A core focus of the report is on the issue of transitioning to WCAG 2.0 guidelines against the current background where Member States have, in the main, being targeting their efforts towards the earlier WCAG 1.0 guidelines.
Download the report and its annexes

A relevant project in this area is ACCESSIBLE which will soon provide access to free accessibility assessment and simulation tools, applicable for websites, webservices and mobile services.